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NFL Week 12 Bad Beats: No Luck for Saints, Commanders, Bills

NFL Week 12 Bad Beats: No Luck for Saints, Commanders, Bills article feature image
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Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Derek Carr.

NFL Week 12 Bad Beats

Every week of the 2023 NFL season, we’ll recap how Action Network's NFL Luck Rankings fared and take a look at some of the unluckiest results in our NFL Bad Beat Rankings.

We can also use Expected Scores, which power the Luck Rankings, to look at bad beats. We’re discussing bad beats not in terms of a win or loss, but in terms of win probability swing, so be sure to check out the math behind the NFL Bad Beat Rankings.

For a quick synopsis, we're looking at Expected Scores and comparing them to Actual Scores. We're not saying the team that suffered the bad beat should have won, just that the scoreline was unflattering compared to their expected performance given the game situations encountered.

Here's a look at which teams were unluckiest in Week 11 before heading into the Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings.

Win probability swings indicate the difference in win percentage between how a team actually performed vs. how the final score indicates they performed.

1. Saints (-1.5)

  • Actual Result: Falcons 24, Saints 15
  • Expected Score: Saints 26, Falcons 23
  • Swing: 12 points, 33% win probability

The Falcons' offseason addition of Jessie Bates III has paid dividends all season long and he showed up once again in this divisional matchup.

He began wreaking havoc near the end of the first quarter. With the Saints inside Atlanta's 10-yard line, Bates stepped in front of a Derek Carr pass and took it to the house for a 92-yard pick-6. As mentioned before in these articles, a pick-6 is a huge swing in expected points.

Desmond Ridder, who has gotten the Falcons a top-three bad beat award numerous times this season, tried to do so once again by throwing an interception at the end of the first half on the Saints' 1-yard line.

The Saints would give it back a quarter later thanks to a Taysom Hill fumble inside the red zone. The ball was punched out by guess who? Bates.

To top it off, New Orleans kicker Blake Grupe, who had scored all 15 points for the Saints up to that point, couldn't convert a sixth on a 54-yarder that went wide right by less than a foot.

The Saints outgained the Falcons 444 to 396. Both teams had two turnovers, but the Saints had the worse luck because both were in the red zone.

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2. Commanders (+13)

  • Actual Result: Cowboys 45, Commanders 10
  • Expected Score: Cowboys 29, Commanders 20
  • Swing: 26 points, 26.6% win probability

For the second straight week, the Commanders had an expected score that would have covered the spread. They had 11 total drives but only came away with 10 points, all coming in the first half.

Washington's first two drives ended with punts inside Dallas' 50-yard line; the Commanders trailed at the end of the first half by the score of 20-10.

On their first possession in the second half, the were stuffed on a fourth-and-1 at the Dallas 39-yard line. In two of their next three drives, they again turned the ball over on downs on short fourth-down opportunities.

This Thanksgiving drubbing was capped off with a Sam Howell pick-6 to Daron Bland — it was the Cowboys cornerback's fifth of the season, which set a new NFL single-season record.

Commanders vs. Cowboys was more lopsided than it could have been. Dallas had three punts on nine drives, so its five offensive touchdowns come in above expectation.

3. Bills (+2.5)

  • Actual Result: Eagles 37, Bills 34
  • Expected Score: Bills 30, Eagles 27
  • Swing: 14 points, 13.2% win probability

The Bills just can't escape bad beats.

Before getting into specifics, it's worth noting this game took place in the pouring rain.

On a second-and-6 from the Eagles' 30-yard line in the first quarter, Josh Allen targeted James Cook on a wheel route that would have been a sure touchdown. Instead, it bounced off Cook's hands. Two consecutive false starts and an incomplete pass later, the Bills were forced to punt.

In the second quarter, the Bills were up 10-7 and drove all the way down to the Eagles' 7-yard line and had a first-and-goal. Allen was nearly sacked and tried to get rid of the ball, which led to an intentional grounding penalty. The Bills were forced to kick a 34-yard field goal that was blocked by Jalen Carter.

Tyler Bass' next field-goal attempt came on Buffalo's first drive of the second half from 48 yards out — it went wide right.

While the Eagles offense was putrid in the first half (one touchdown, no field goals, three punts and two turnovers), they were phenomenal in the second half and overtime (four touchdowns, one field goal and no punts).

Both teams had a success rate of 45%, showing this was a fairly equal game in the end. The Bills just got unlucky in the kicking game and lost the penalty battle, while the Eagles produced a TD rate a bit over expectation given their underlying stats.

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